Global Crunch Can’t Cool Vietnam’s FDI Fever

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May 5 – Although America is in a de facto recession, sending both trade and stocks into a slump from Germany to Jakarta, international businesses seem as eager as ever to pour investment capital into Vietnam.

No doubt some of the influx comes courtesy of ongoing government efforts to accelerate FDI disbursements. The government hopes to attract US$22 billion in FDI for 2008, and disburse more than $10 billion. With $8 billion of FDI in the first four months of this year alone, Vietnam seems well on its way to hitting its 2008 target.

Recent FDI projects are representative of the breadth and scope of international business that sees Vietnam as a profitable frontier for international expansion.

UK real estate investors Protego will have a fund worth some half billion U.S. dollars established in Vietnam by late June. The fund will focus on upscale apartments, luxury estates, and branded resorts in suburban and coastal areas of Vietnam. Domestic developer Qudos Asia and HBP Group will partner on the massive project.

Meanwhile aluminum giant Alcoa has recently been given the green light to acquire 40 percent of one of Vietnam’s largest alumina plants, in the highlands of Daknong. The move falls in line with Vietnam’s commitment to developing its vast but underutilized alumina and bauxite ore reserves. The government will keep a 51 percent stake in the plant, and sell 9 percent to the public.

A great sign of confidence in the Vietnamese consumer comes with the imminent launch of Circle K Convenience stores. Couche-Tard Inc., the Canadian owners of the Circle K brand, have given GR Vietnam Holdings Ltd. Exclusive rights to Circle K in Vietnam for 25 years, in a franchise deal that aims to take advantage of Vietnam’s booming economic growth.